Angry Customers: The Three R’s for Dealing with Hostility

Access this 7-minute video now and discover a tool you can use to teach your sales reps how to defuse customer anger and turn a potential negative experience into something positive. You’ll learn:

  • The one thing an angry customer wants to hear
  • Why even experienced reps often respond the wrong way to their customers’ anger, and
  • The three R’s: An easy-to-remember approach that can turn an angry encounter into an opportunity to earn your customer’s loyalty.
Angry Customers: The Three R’s for Dealing with Hostility

Why are we giving you access to this program for free? Because it’s the best way we know to introduce you to a breakthrough way to develop sales talent in your organization.

Here’s how it works: Request your angry customers training video now and we’ll email you a user name and password that gives you instant access to the Selling Essentials Rapid Learning Center. There you’ll find the “Angry Customers” video and a collection of other training resources for sales professionals. You’ll have unlimited trial access to this powerful library of e-learning modules, reports and fast-read articles.

More information for those who love the details …

A salesperson’s guide to dealing with angry customers

Sooner or later, every salesperson faces angry customers. Maybe it was something you did. Maybe somebody else in your organization dropped the ball. Maybe the customer is just being unreasonable. Whatever the reason, you’re the one who has to take the heat.

And everyone in sales has learned the basics of how to deal with an angry customer: Keep your cool. Don’t argue. Show empathy. Stay positive.

There’s nothing wrong with that advice – except it doesn’t go far enough.

The truth is angry customers don’t much care for platitudes. There’s only one thing they want to hear. And most of the time, the person they’re talking to doesn’t say it.

Why an angry customer is good news for sales reps

Researchers have discovered a surprising upside to anger: They found that customers get angry when they “believe they can potentially alter and/or seek a remedy for a negative event.”

That’s good news for you. It means angry customers haven’t given up on you. They still WANT and EXPECT you to help them.

And that brings us to the one thing an angry customer wants to hear. Not empathy. Not a soothing tone of voice. Not an apology.

They just want to know that YOU are the person taking responsibility to make sure the problem gets fixed.

Unfortunately, the same researchers found that even experienced sales professionals often fail to get this message across. They become angry themselves. Or defensive. They try to turn down the heat. Or hide behind a bureaucratic response: “Well, that’s our policy.”

Why? Because anger feels like an attack. And even when our rational minds know better, we respond with a fight-or-flight response. It’s hard-wired into our brains: When you’re under attack, you must either defend yourself or run for cover. But of course, neither response gets the customer what they want.

Access this video now and learn how to diffuse customer anger to everyone’s benefit.

The Three R’s for Handling an Angry Customer

So to manage a customer’s hostility effectively, you first must manage your own emotional response. And then you must demonstrate that you can help fix the problem.

Here’s an easy-to-remember approach you can use: the three R’s for dealing with an angry customer.

  1. The first R: REFRAME the customer’s anger. Whenever you encounter an angry customer, remind yourself: “This is not an attack. This is a request for help.”
  2. The second R: REASSURE the buyer. The number-one message you MUST communicate is “I am the person who can help you.” That’s true whether it’s a customer who can’t figure out how to use your product or a C-level executive who thinks your team dropped the ball on a multimillion dollar deal.
  3. And finally, take RESPONSIBILITY to make sure the problem gets fixed. That doesn’t mean you can always give the customer everything he or she demands. It does mean committing to do everything you can to find a solution.

With this approach, you’re doing everything you can to show the buyer that you’re willing and able to solve their problem, and you’re committed to making things right. It won’t always work, but when it does, you’ll turn an angry encounter into an opportunity to build customer loyalty.

Access this training video now as part of a free trial to the Selling Essentials Rapid Learning Center.


Steve Meyer
Stephen Meyer
CEO/Director of Learning and Development, The Rapid Learning Institute


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